Back pain is miserable. When it’s really bad, you just want to curl up in a ball and wait for the pain to pass. Hot baths, pain medications, massage – these might be your go-to cures when you have a painful back, but are you aware that exercise is the key to beating back pain and preventing it from coming back?
It is common for people to assume that rest is the best cure. Certainly rest is necessary in some instances, but where back pain is caused by poor posture or weak core muscles, the right exercises and fitness routines can make all the difference. When your feet are properly aligned, you’re reducing the likelihood of getting back pain, which is why an adequate pair of shoe insoles is a great option when it comes to improving your posture.
Physical therapy is a common treatment for back problems. Physiotherapy can help people whose back pain is caused by muscle problems or referred pain from elsewhere. A physiotherapist is trained to treat damaged muscles and tissue. Their job is to fix the underlying issue and help you back on the road to recovery. It may take a while, but with the aid of some targeted exercises, you should be able to get rid of persistent back pain for good.
Swimming is an excellent exercise for anyone with back problems. The water supports your body weight whilst providing resistance. Any swimming stroke is good aerobic exercise, but if you want to burn some calories, try front crawl. Swimming is also good for anyone with mobility problems, as it is a non-weight bearing exercise.
Yoga is good for the back. When performed correctly under the supervision of a qualified instructor, yoga enhances flexibility and improves strength. Yoga is also good for the core, which should help to strengthen your back and reduce pain.
Pilates is also good for anyone with back problems. The principles of Pilates’ exercises improve strength, suppleness and flexibility. Anyone with degenerative spine problems is likely to see an improvement in their back pain if they practice Pilates regularly. Pilates can also help to improve postural asymmetry – another common cause of persistent back pain.
Working with an exercise ball at the gym or at home can help stretch and strengthen the back. There are literally hundreds of useful exercises you can do with an exercise ball, from leg raises to stomach crunches, so book a session with a fitness instructor and find out how to get the most out of your exercise ball.
Simple floor exercises performed on the mat are helpful if you have back pain. Sit-ups are best avoided as these can exacerbate back problems, but stretches, knee rolls, back extensions, stomach crunches, pelvic tilts and leg raises are all useful exercises to work the abdominals and core muscles.
Always exercise in moderation when you have a bad back, or you could make matters worse. Back rack back belts can help if you need extra support during light exercise, but if in doubt about how best to target the right muscles, consult with a physiotherapist. They will be able to advise you on the most appropriate exercises for your back problem.